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5 Toxic Habits You Should Break Now for a Better Life

5 Toxic Habits You Should Break Now for a Better Life

Much too often, we hold ourselves back from achieving the best version of ourselves. It can manifest in many ways, but it’s often toxic habits that hold us back from a better life. Sometimes, these habits don’t seem bad on the surface, but we often go overboard, turning what could be considered a positive quality into a toxic habit. Here are 5 toxic habits that you should break now for a better life.

1. Thirsting for approval.

Being liked is a worthy goal. We want people to like us and we make choices every day with this in mind. But too often we go too far and begin to thirst for approval. When you are a good person, you make informed and well-thought out choices, and you understand your personal limitations; being yourself will attract the kind of people you should be around.

Doing things just to get approval can leave you in terrible situations. You may be put in positions where you do things that are against your moral code or even worse, against the law. Whether it’s a boss or co-worker at work who is pushing you to cut corners or a relationship that is pushing you to do things outside your comfort level, thirsting for approval can be very toxic.

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It rears its head in many ways. Often times, you end up being “too nice” and getting taken advantage of by friends or family members. Rather than doing the things that benefit you, you are always trying to win approval. And rarely does it even work. I’ve met many people pleasers who are never truly happy. When they fail at winning approval, they try harder. When they win approval, it’s never enough.

It’s important to do things for others, but it’s vital to do things that make you happy. The best way to win approval is to be yourself. When you thirst for approval, your proverbial cup will run empty. When you do things that fill your cup, you’ll be satisfied and people will notice.

2.  Waiting for life to happen.

We’ve taken the old saying “good things come to those who wait” a step or ten too far. Being patient is important, no doubt. But at some point, patience becomes being lethargic and your life stops being your own. Find things you love and make them happen. Learn what you’re passionate about and do those things. Have fun. When you’re out living life, good things will happen. If you’re sitting on your couch hoping, it’s less likely that they will.

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Be an active participant in your life. The people you spend time with, the things you do, and the career you choose will play a major part in other aspects of your life coming together. Don’t wait on life to happen. When you’re living life to the fullest, you’ll find that good things come your way.

3. Competing & comparing.

Being driven is great. And external motivation can help drive you to become a better person. But too often, it becomes all about keeping up with the Jones’s. When you try to one-up and base your opinion of yourself on what someone else is doing, it becomes toxic. Stop worrying about what others have and start focusing on what you truly want. Buy the things that make you happy and skip the purchases that you don’t want or need. You’ll find you are much happier when you live your life the way you want, rather than comparing it to someone else.

4. Relying too much on others.

Trying to go at it alone can be difficult, if not impossible. We need others. We depend on our families, friends, co-workers, and even strangers on a daily basis. But it’s easy to rely too much on others and lose a piece of ourselves. It’s vital that you control your own destiny and you maintain a level of responsibility for your life. Take help when you need it, but understand that ultimately only you are responsible for your life and your decisions.

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5. Settling.

At some point in everyone’s life, they must make decision and stick to it. These decisions come daily and can be as simple as what to have for breakfast and as challenging as who to marry. On some level, everyone must compromise and understand their limitations.

When I was looking for my first job, I wanted to make a great wage, choose my hours, and work with people I liked. My expectations may have been out of whack with no experience, so I ended up with a great job that didn’t pay nearly as well. I didn’t settle, but I did compromise. I took a look at my options and chose one I felt good about. If none were good, I would have kept looking.

It’s important to remain flexible and truly understand your limitations. But never settle. Whether it’s for a job, a relationship, or just a random decision, it’s important to understand your options and choose one that you are happy with. Settling for a relationship because you don’t want to be lonely or a job that you hate because you need a paycheck is a toxic way to live your life. Be picky and understand you may have to compromise, but never settle.

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Featured photo credit: via flickr.com

More by this author

Kyle Robbins

Kyle is the founder of Branding Beard. He writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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